Monday, October 21, 2013

What I’ve Learned Writing for Love Inspired



Wow, Seekerville knows how to throw a birthday bash!!! The food, the prizes, the posts, the comments rock!! I can’t wait to see who will be our grand prize winner. To get your name in the pot, keep commenting!

I escaped Unpubbed Island when I sold my debut Courting Miss Adelaide to Love Inspired for their new historical line that launched in 2008. I've written six novels and a novella for three wonderful Love Inspired editors, Melissa Endlich, Emily Rodmell and Tina James. These editors have taught me a lot about writing for Love Inspired.

Most of what they want is what all editors want: Three-dimensional, likable characters with strong goals, motivations and conflicts. They like riveting plots and dialogue, rising stakes and sexual tension. They want authors to show, not tell. They want a central premise that makes the story matter. Oh, and don’t forget varied sentence structure, good grammar and a strong voice… The list is long! I won’t attempt to enumerate everything that comprises a great read. For more information check out Love Inspired’s submission guidelines at eHarlequin.com

I learned some of the following lessons the hard way. Not in the woodshed--this is modern day after all and my editors are wonderful, kind women, but who wants to rewrite when we can do it right the first time. Here's six things I've learned writing for Love Inspired.   
   
      The Importance of first lines and first chapters.

What editor wouldn't want strong first lines and chapters? But, at Love Inspired first chapters that grip the reader are essential. Authors never know how many editors will be reading that first chapter so make sure those first lines and first chapters sing. Read the line you’re targeting to see how those authors hooked their editors. A tip: You can read the first pages online at Amazon and often at an author’s website. For suggestions on writing those first lines, check out my post Hooks, Lines and Sinkers here.

The Importance of hooks.

Love Inspired readers are drawn to tried and true hooks like secret babies, marriages of convenience and cowboys. Hooks not only help sell your book but they also give the marketing and art departments the vision for your story and the know how to package and promote it. Look at the covers and back covers’ copy in the line you’re targeting for examples of hooks that lured an editor, your first reader, to buy the book. 

The importance of bringing the hero and heroine together quickly.

And I mean quickly. On the first page is nice. If an earlier meeting works for your story, in the first couple of lines is even better. If it doesn't work for your story, the cute meet or inciting incident (what brings the hero and heroine together) doesn't have to be that fast. But bring them together within a few pages. Love Inspired’s smaller word count doesn't give much wiggle room for developing setting or showing much of the characters’ everyday world before the action starts. Readers are eager to meet the hero and heroine. Tip: A word of caution: Be careful not to introduce another character before the reader meets both the hero and heroine. The reader may latch onto a secondary character, believing s/he’s the hero or heroine and be confused.

      The importance of starting with trouble.

Conflict is story. The reason readers keep turning pages. When you bring the hero and heroine together, give a hint at the trouble. Not a long passage of back story, but something that says they’re in for a fun ride. In Mary's books that means someone gets shot. Though Mary will deny it, flying bullets don't work for every story. 
The following first lines open two of my books. Both first lines introduce the hero in the heroine’s point of view and hint at conflict.

Mary Graves couldn't believe her eyes. And the gall of that man.

One glance at the rogue across the way curled Abigail Wilson’s gloved hands into a stranglehold on her skirts.
 
Words like gall and rogue shout trouble. Trouble in the fictional world entertains. That’s vital if we hope to keep the reader in the story long enough to see how brilliantly we've brought growth and happiness to our characters.   

The importance of using both the hero and heroine’s point of view quickly.

It’s not enough to bring the hero and heroine together quickly. Love Inspired editors want the reader to get inside both of their heads. This will take a little longer but give both points of view as soon as possible so readers connect to both characters quickly and get a peek at the trouble and/or attraction between them.Tips: Typically Love Inspired prefers changing points of view at chapter and scene breaks. 

The Importance of keeping the hero and heroine together throughout the story.

A romance novel has two protagonists. The story may center on the one over the other, but both the hero and heroine are important in a romance and need strong goals. The hero or heroine may also be the antagonist if she/he is out to stop the other character from achieving her/his goal. Readers want to see these characters together on the page. When they’re not together, they should think about each other. After all these two people are attracted, often when that’s the last thing they want and as the story progresses, they'll start falling in love even if they don't recognize or admit it. Their thoughts may be warm and tender or cold and harsh or somewhere in between. I’m not suggesting long passages of introspection. Something in the setting or a snippet of reaction or dialogue can be used to bring the love interest to mind. Another way to keep the romance in the forefront of the story is for the hero and heroine to talk about each other to a secondary character, perhaps a mentor. Tip: Remember the romance isn't the plot. The romance complicates the plot. Show the attraction is adding conflict for the characters. Again, read the line to see how published authors keep the focus on the romance no matter what's happening with the plot.

Hope these suggestions help if you're targeting Love Inspired. If I've overlooked another aspect of craft that you've learned is important to LI editors, please share your tips in the comments. 

Before we head to the buffet, I want to mention something else I've learned writing for Love Inspired. Readers have expectations. 

Readers love animals in their stories. I’m allergic to cats and dogs so I don’t always think to include a pet but I'm learning.  

Readers love epilogues. In my fourth book, Wanted: A Family, I tied up the hero and heroine’s Happily Ever After ending but left the unwed mothers in the story dangling. I heard from readers. Thankfully when my editor asked me to write a novella, I used the opportunity to give those secondary characters their own HEA ending. I still struggle with writing epilogues. My editors haven't told me to, but if the fit your story, readers appreciate them.

Today I'm giving away two prizes. For readers, I'll be giving away a copy of one of my books, eBook or print, winners choice. For writers, I will chat on the phone about writing and critique the first chapter of your story. Leave a comment if you're interested in one or both prizes.

This morning I brought egg bakes, blueberry pancakes and zucchini bread for breakfast. Come back for lunch for tasty Cobb salads and croissants. Oh, and crunchy apples with caramel dip and pumpkin pie for dessert. Yay, dessert for lunch shouts we’re partying in Seekerville!   

Janet Dean grew up in a family who cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted fascinating stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. She married her college sweetheart, and taught first grade before leaving to rear two daughters, but Janet never lost interest in American history and the accounts of strong men and women of faith who built this country. With her daughters grown, she eagerly turned to Inspirational historical romance. Visit Janet at her Website: www.janetdean.net





209 comments:

1 – 200 of 209   Newer›   Newest»
Melissa Jagears said...

Put me in for all prizes please. :)

And I'm certainly learning the "you will hear from readers" bit. As a reader, I never once thought to write an author and tell them what I wished they'd written or done.....heck, I wouldn't have contacted them to say I like the book either, just didn't even occur to me to do that.

As to leaving a loose thread....I just got a review that said they were a little miffed that I left them hanging on a story thread.....I don't know what she's talking about, what did I leave unresolved?!? Hopefully it's something I intended....

Jenny Blake said...

Hi Janet, I can remember your first book it coincided with my first overseas trip or was it my second, It was my second I remember now I was staying with my friend in Washington State and on our way to her place we stopped at Wallmart so I could get a few books and one was Courting Miss Adelaide. I remember it was going to be out while I was over there and was excited to be able to get it while there.
It doesn't seem like 5 years ago does it. So much has happened since that trip.
I do like pets in books I love cats, I dont have one but love there antics.
Melissa, I love to write to an author after I read a book and thank them for a good read sometimes tell them how the book affected me or if something touched me to let them know.
Oh I hate threads left hanging like the book I read that kept mentioning a particular clue and then it was like it was completely forgotten but I wanted to know why!

Been to the physio today she did find a tender spot in the artery behind my right ear she pressed it the pain increased in my head so shes working on that. I am hoping by morning I will notice some change cos I am getting more and more light headed each day due to the meds and its not fun.

BelleC said...


Hi Janet,

What a wonderful post! As a new Love Inspired author I'm still learning all the ins and outs of writing for the line. I really appreciate and value your insight. I agree with everything you said, particularly about bringing the hero and heroine together very quickly. It's so important to engage the reader and to keep them turning those pages!!
Belle

Mary Connealy said...

NOW JANET!!!! I think I have been PERFECTLY CLEAR that flying bullets ... I totally understand ... do NOT work in Amish stories.

It's a shame, but I accept it.

Other than that of course. Shooting someone is ALWAYS the way to go. :) Remember when Miss Adeline started shooting people? That's when that book really kicked in for me.

LOL

Marianne Barkman said...

Janet, so glad to see you here.Have I told you lately how muspch I appreciate you and love your books? And I'm so glad you are passing on your knowledge...we should soon have more Love Inspired authors and their books available.

Jan Christiansen said...

Great tips for writing for LI (one of my dream goals). Thank a bunch, Janet!

Abbi Hart said...

Great post! As a reader I totally look for the things you mentioned when choosing LI books to buy. In my experience LI books are rather hit or miss as to whether I will enjoy them or not so I'm always checking things like those you mentioned to make sure there is a high chance I will enjoy the book!
I'd love to be entered in the reader drawing!

Abbi Hart said...

Melissa-I adored your book and I can't think of anything that was unresolved! I didn't notice anything as I read the book and even looking back and trying to think of something I can't so I think you're good! I loved every minute of both your novella and novel and can't wait for more!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet, so many good points!!!! And FOOD!!!!

I'm rockin' the "Psyched" button right now!!!! COFFEE IS ON!!!! FRESH REGULAR JOE TO JUMPSTART MONDAY!!!!!

I love the way Mary creates action/reaction scenes and subplots in her books, it cracks me up because she's able to string the humor through right alongside, like Maverick did... funny Westerns are one of the best forms of human relaxation, I think... although I love the angst side of things too...

I just love reading.

Jenny!!! Still praying, my friend. Hope the sensitive spot they found can be alleviated. If I was thousands of miles east or west, and south, I'd hug you.

I'm not so I'll send this instead:

((((( )))))

Cindy W. said...

Wonderful post Janet! One for the keeper book and thank you for the link to your post Hook, Lines and Sinkers. I love learning things so early in the morning. :)

I love the LI line of books and notice the early meeting of the main characters tend to come within the first or second page. I love that just as you said readers like to get to know the characters quickly.

I would love to be entered for both giveaways.

Melissa your book was wonderful and I know of NO loose threads.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Piper Huguley said...

Janet,

Great post! I'm keeping the tab up as I go through my story before my deadline today. Thanks! Love the blueberry pancakes!

Piper

Annie Rains said...

Timely post for me! I'm revising a requested LI manuscript and struggling to balance the hero and heroine's POV and all the essential stuff that LI wants. Just like Piper, I'll be keeping this tab up today as I make revisions :)

Rose said...

Hi Janet,

Great advice. It's always nice to get the 'low down' of what editors like/want/expect!

DebH said...

Janet
this is a great post for any manuscript, I'm thinking. i remember your first book - i believe it was the first gift I got from Seekerville. It's also the first book my toddler grabbed when he tried to convince me it was not night-night time ("I readin' Momma..."). Then he grabbed Mary's book, because, well, cowboys are cool. (he still had to go to bed though, AFTER mommy took pix of course).

Jenny: praying for you *hugs*

Piper
Read your first chapter @ SYTYCW. Loved it! May your entry find favor with the judges so you make the top 10.

Melissa
Loved your novella. Haven't gotten to your book, but if it's anything like the novella - I know it'll be awesome. Sometimes I see bad reviews and wonder if the reviewer even read the same book...

and oh yeah, please put me in the drawings for the giveaways (even though I feel a bit greedy since Seekerville has given me SOOOOOOOO much already - especially encouragement)

Walt Mussell said...

Janet, I think I have all of your books but will go over your booklist and see.

Have you ever seen an LIH where the hero and heroine come together at the end of a first chapter (so that you know you've got the right people), but that haven't met yet?

Janet Dean said...

Hello Melissa! You're in for all the prizes.

I love hearing from readers! So many have encouraged and blessed me. The problem comes when they're not happy about something and even if I see their point, I can't do anything about it. Of course I don't always agree. Or even understand their issue with the book, like in your case that hanging thread.

We need to remember readers bring everything they've experienced to the story and that colors their reaction to it. For good or bad.

Though their letters readers have taught me things, too. For example, milk must be cooled before the cream will come to the top. Important for a historial writer to know and I didn't.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jenny! Fun to hear how you found my debut! Yes, the years have flown by.

Your letters bless authors by sharing how their stories touched you. Writing is a solitary occupation, even with all those characters talking in our heads.
:-) It's fun to interact with readers. So mega thanks to you and the many readers who take the time to write.

I'm so sorry about those terrible headaches. I pray the treatments will ease the pain so you can get off medication.

Janet

Cindy Regnier said...

Thank you Janet - What a long list of things to fit into one book. And you are the expert. I read The Bride Wore Spurs recently. You got it all in there! Great tips, good advice. Blessings to you!

Karen Kirst said...

Awesome post, Janet! I hope you don't mind that I wrote down your phrase, "trouble in the fictional world entertains". I'm gonna keep it close to remind me. :) Since in real life I'm a conflict-avoider, that flows into my writing sometimes. Too often, I find myself trying to smooth things over for the H/H. Wrong!
One thing I'd add is that sometimes I read stories that are just that-stories about characters in a town and there isn't enough focus on the romance. That will make me put a book down faster than anything. I don't want to read about characters going through the motions. I want emotion! Thrills! Ok, I guess I need to cut back on the caffeine this morning. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Piper has a deadline today! Piper has a deadline today! Piper has a deadline today!!!!

Happy dancing in upstate over broccoli slaw!!!

:)

kaybee said...

Janet, this is great advice from one who has "been in the trenches."
I did not know about the pets.
Thanks for providing breakfast AND lunch.
Have to go to work, will check in later.
KB

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Belle! Congratulations on the release of your debut! I'm delighted you found my post helpful. Even after writing seven books for LI, I have to remind myself to get the hero and heroine together and both POVs on the page as quickly as possible. Wishing you all the best!

Janet

kaybee said...

Oh, yes, please enter me in the drawing.
K. Bailey

Courtney Phillips said...

Love Inspired novels are what started me on Christian fiction (before that I think I mostly read the Babysitters' Club lol. I was young!)

Love a story with a lot of conflict. I get distracted too easily for anything else:-)

Janet Dean said...

Mary, Adelaide didn't shoot anyone. Now, Charles came close. Very close. Know you were proud of him! LOL

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Marianne! Good to see you! Thank you so much for your encouraging, sweet words! You made my day!!

I hope the post helps an aspiring writer to sell to Love Inspired. Nothing would make me happier!

Have a great day!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jan! Hang onto that dream! Love Inspired is seeking authors so your dream can become reality.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Abbi! You're a savvy reader who knows what you want. We writers always hope to please our readers with stories that grab and bless them.

I know your lovely words to Melissa are encouraging to her.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, thanks for the coffee! Helen must be busy this morning.

I'm with you! I love cowboys and humor, which makes Mary's books so much fun. Maverick was one of my favorites.

Janet

Glynna Kaye said...

EXCELLENT tips for writing for Love Inspired, Janet! Anyone wanting to write for LI would do well to incorporate your suggestions.

Mary Hicks said...

Thank you, Janet. This one is a 'keeper' file article. I wish I didn't have to be reminded of the importance of following these guidelines every time I sat down to write.
You'd think it would finally sink in.

But not yet anyway! :-)

Happy Monday to everyone! I'm heading to Ft. Worth for several days, will be out of pocket.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Great points, Janet!!! Those are great not only for LI writers, but for any romance writer!

I just cut the first several pages from a book I am rewriting. Now the book starts with the heroine noting the hero's presence in the very first line. Yes, I probably cut some important information in those first several pages--although most of it was NOT important--but I can always sprinkle that info back in along the way somewhere. But I am really pleased with where it starts now! Most excitement and tension and danger and conflict. That's what I'm going for. :-) So this is a handy checklist to help me do that!

Janet Dean said...

Hello, Cindy W! Glad the posts are helpful! This writing journey is not for the faint of heart. Wishing you all the best with yours.

Janet

Jeanne T said...

Janet, I don't have a story that would fit with LI, but it's always good to know what different lines require. :)

I enjoyed reading your experiences and tips for writers aspiring to submit to LI. :)

I'd love to be in the drawings. :)

Janet Dean said...

Hey Piper! Your deadline is today and you're visiting Seekerville. You rock! Praying for you.

Janet

Suzie Johnson said...

Wonderful tips, Janet. Thank you so much. I remember your first book well. I bought it because of the beautiful cover. I loved the book, too. :)

Jan Drexler said...

Good morning, Janet!

What a great article! And I'm keeping it handy today, too. I don't have a deadline like Piper, and I'm not making revisions like Annie...I'm starting my third book for LIH. I really needed the reminder to get my Hero and Heroine together early.

Thanks for all the autumn goodies!

Jan Drexler said...

Mary Connealy, you CAN have bullets flying in an Amish book.

Have you read The Prodigal Son Returns, yet? I learned from the master!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Thanks. I just figured out this morning a way to keep the tension fresh through the infamous middle.

Would love to be in for the chat!

Off to the NC State Fair! Doing research for my Yankee-Belle Cafe post!

Peace, Julie

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Annie! Mega congratulations on the LI request for a complete manuscript! Hope the revisions go well! Praying for you. If you have any questions, give us a shout.

Thank you for the excellent reminder to give both the hero and heroines roughly equal time in their points of view!! Another item to add to my list.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Rose! Thanks! You obviously know a lot about pleasing an editor with several published books to your credit.

Janet

Sherri Shackelford said...

Excellent post and perfect advice! Love your books :)

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Deb H. I remember those adorable pictures you shared! What a cutie! Smart too. He knew how to put the skids on bedtime. LOL

The blessings go both ways, Deb. You've blessed the Seekers just as much.

Janet

Amy C said...

Lovely post, Janet! I would love to be entered in the book drawing. Thanks
Amy C :)

Walt Mussell said...

Have confirmed it, Janet. I have all of your books. :-)

Myra Johnson said...

Great tips, Janet--thanks!

My favorite: "Remember the romance isn't the plot. The romance complicates the plot."

I recall an early inspy romance I read many years ago that bored me to tears because the author forgot this basic principle. Romance doesn't occur in a vacuum but is nurtured or hindered by everything else going on in our lives.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Walt! Thank you for reading my books! If you're missing one, let us know.

I don't remember a LIH with the hero and heroine not meeting early, well before the end of the first chapter. Anyone else remember a book that fits Walt's question?

Janet

Davalyn Spencer said...

Good reminders - especially for writers who may have known but forgotten or pushed these truths aside in pursuit of a new goal. It pays to be grounded in what works. Thanks so much.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cindy! I'm delighted you enjoyed the post and The Bride Wore Spurs! Blessings right back at you!

Janet

Jamie Adams said...

Hi Janet! What a helpful post. I'll be printing this one out.

Connie Queen said...

Please put me in a for all the prizes too.

I have a LI editor waiting on my ms, but I don't think my story really fits the line. I've tried to tweak it and would be willing to make more changes because I believe writing for them would be terrific. But just reading your list makes my stomach knots.

I loved Courting Miss Adelaide. It's also one of my first Seekerville books.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Karen! No need to cut back on caffeine. We all read romances for the romance. :-) We want emotion. We want to care. Strong sexual tension is a must.

Writers who are peacemakers might struggle to put their poor characters into trouble. I'm guessing they find writing their Happily Ever After endings far easier to write.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Kaybee! Readers definitely want pets in our stories. Jenny prefers cats.

We eat well in Seekerville, don't we? The best part is the ingredients are fresh and the cooking and cleanup easy peesy.

See you later!

Janet



Janet Dean said...

Hi Courtney! Sounds like you were young when you discovered Love Inspired books. A reminder to nudge my granddaughter to read my books. :-)

Conflict is entertaining as long as it's not just quarreling. For me some of the best conflict is when one character is drawn to another and s/he doesn't want to be.

Janet

Erica Vetsch said...

Good morning, Janet! These reminders are especially timely for me as I plot out my NaNo novel over the next week or so! :)

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Glynna! You and Tina, Ruthy, Audra, Debby and Missy know what it takes to write for Love Inspired! I'm grateful to have all of you to run ideas and questions by.

Janet

Anna R. Weaver said...

Great tips, Janet! Please drop my name in the hat for the writer's critique. :)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mary! Don't let the need for reminders discourage you. We all forget sometimes. At least I do!

Have a fun trip! If you get your picture taken sitting on a longhorn, please share it with us.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Melanie! Yay! Congratulations on making your opening stronger! Sometimes cutting our words is hard to do, but those words aren't wasted. We learn important things about our characters from getting them on paper and often we can tuck them in here and there, little tidbits of back story that connect readers to our characters.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jeanne T!

Isn't it great that there's more than one publisher? More than one way to write our stories?

Funny thing is, I wrote my debut as a single title and cut out words until I had the count that fit LIH. And wonder of wonders, not one plot element was lost! I still wonder about that. LOL

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, what a perfect lesson on writing a Love Inspired romance. You've included so many wonderful tips as well as the necessary information that will have the editors asking for the full and then making THE CALL!!!

Thanks for providing such a clear tutorial and making it sound so easy.

Of course, I'm smiling about the easy part! We know too well that writing is never easy. You have, however, lifted some of the fog that can keep writers from snagging the editor's attention. Great job!!!

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Suzie! I'm delighted you enjoyed Courting Miss Adelaide!

I love all my covers but CMA's cover is still my favorite. Not many LI covers focus on just the heroine. I was impressed with the Art department's use of detail like the bird on Adelaide's hat.

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

Reaching for a slice of zucchini bread and mulling over your comment about adding animals to your stories.

Great idea!

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Jan! Congratulations on writing your third novel for Love Inspired! Hope the writing goes well!

I find putting the hero and heroine together early easier than getting both of their points of view on the page early on.

Janet

Jackie McNutt said...

Hi Janet, A reader here. I love your books. But I found your article very interesting as a reader of what it takes to pull a story together and what you learn from past writing. please keep the westerns coming!

Janet Dean said...

Morning Julie HS!

Wahoo!! Congrats on finding a way to keep the tension fresh in the middle of your book! Your process would make a great post!

Have fun at the NC State Fair! The fairs in the midwest are long since over.

We're chilly here today, but it's sunny. Leaves are turning! It's gorgeous from my office perch.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sherrie! Thanks for your lovely words! Remind us--when is your novel releasing?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Amy C! Thanks and thanks for stopping by. Seekerville is in party mode. Prizes, food, a happy dance now and again. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Walt, having all my books makes you a fan! Or a sucker for punishment! LOL

Janet

Ruth Logan Herne said...

JHS is at the State Fair.

RLH is green with envy.

I want cheese curds, Fresh Fudge and ice cream.

That is all.

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Janet,

Good reminders. Not much of what I write fits LI or LIH, but as you say the essentials of a good story are essential.

Piper,

Today's the day? I'll start praying.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Myra!

Love that you said:

Romance doesn't occur in a vacuum but is nurtured or hindered by everything else going on in our lives.

The only vacuum I want is on my floors.

I'm reading When the Clouds Roll By and loving the story and the setting! I want to go to Hot Springs!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Davalyn! So true. I never leave out story elements deliberately. Sometimes they just seem to flutter out of my awareness. A list of reminders helps!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jamie! Glad the post helps! Thanks! And guess what? Writing the post helps me keep focused on what I want to do.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Connie! Oops! Don't want my posts to tie anyone's stomach into knots! Writing shorter books may not work for you.

But, if you want to give it a shot since you've got the request, see if you can flip things around and make it work. Let us know how it's going and if we can help.

Janet

Susan Codone said...

Thanks for the post, and for the info about creating three-dimensional characters. As I write, and then as I read wonderful fiction by others, I'm struck by how books that "get me" are populated with fascinating, quirky characters. Thanks for the reminder!

Cara Lynn James said...

Janet, thanks for the great tips for Love Inspired. It's a keeper!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Erica! Love when a post is timely. Have fun plotting your NaNo novel!

Been wanting to ask. Did you get to the history museum in Indianapolis when you were there for the ACFW conference? I haven't but I heard rooms are set up with enactors that are based on past news clippings in the area. Sounds cool!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Anna! You're in the hat for the critique! Thanks for hanging with us in Seekerville!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Debby. You and I are both smiling about the easy part! But then if writing books was easy, everyone would do it!

Janet

Carol Garvin said...

Thanks for sharing all these great tips, Janet. In retrospect, I didn't deliberately incorporate some of them in my manuscripts, but I'm relieved to note that many are there. Adding pets comes naturally for me. Dogs play an important role in my real life and are always in my novels. Now I'm off to check out your 'Hooks, Lines and Sinkers' post.

Jennie, I hope there's relief for you soon~

Janet Dean said...

Debby, animals do enrich a story. Kids too. Should have pointed out that LI doesn't like multiple Points of View so no pov for the cat or kids. :-)

Janet

Elizabeth said...

Hmm, I have always wondered about LI since I still not sure what types of plots they accept. I know they have a procise formula. The nice thing about Ebooks is that in the "old" days your book was lost when they sold out of it. Now you can get it years later in Ebook form.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jackie, your comments blessed me! Thanks! I appreciate my readers more than I can say!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, I've never had cheese curds. What's that like? But I do know and love funnel cakes or elephants ears, anything with sugar and grease. LOL Banking on Julie sharing in the Yankee Belle Cafe.

Janet

Vince said...

Hi Janet:

I not only have all your books, I’ve read them all within days of their release. Your books don’t seem to make it to my TBR pile. Like Tony Hillerman, another never made it to my TBR pile author; your books just don’t come out often enough. But they are worth the wait. I know it has to take a lot of time to get your ‘crystal clear’ prose to ring true in every sentence. I just wrote a Brokerage Law correspondence course and I spent extra days ‘pinging’ every word to emulate your style. It's a nonfiction writers dream.

Great post today. As much as I analyze writing in general and the romance genre in particular, I never thought of the need to show both the hero and heroine’s POVs in the first chapter.

This makes perfect sense. I have to recheck all my first chapters now. I just love a post when it changes the way I will go about writing in the future. It's a growth experience. I’ve even been thinking about other ways to do a ‘virtual’ POV shift without making an actual shift. Below are two ideas:

1) use ‘free indirect discourse’ – where the character’s voice is mingled with that of the narrator – Jane Austen was an expert at doing this. It takes skill but is well worth the effort if done right.

2) Use physical proxies for the non-POV character – this is revealing a character’s inner state by showing what the body is doing. The hero says something and the heroine has an emotion revealing physical reaction (like breaking the pencil in her hand which is at her side. While the hero does not see it and heroine hides it from the hero, the reader sure has seen into the heroine’s POV.) I love the use of physical proxies – especially when they are creative and not the cliché standards. In an historical novel I like to see the item broken be something that was from that time period – like maybe a quill pen.

I was not going to write anything long today and here I’ve done it. I have a Laws course to write next. Yet, now I’m going to be thinking about more ways to create ‘virtual’ POV insights without doing a formal POV shift.

This post goes right into my Scrivener Writing Project. Thanks so much.

Vince

Kym McNabney said...

Thanks for the insight on how to up your chances of getting published with Love Inspired. I'm a huge fan of the line, especially anything with a cowboy in it or the historicals. I'm currently working on a story to submit to them, so this post has been very helpful.

Blessings,

Kym

Janet Dean said...

Hello Elaine! Aptly said. Essentials of a good story are essential no matter the story's length or the publisher's preference. Here's to wonderful stories and storytellers! They enrich our lives.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Susan, characters are what I remember most about a story I loved!

Anyone care to list your favorite all time characters? Know Julie will head her list with Scarlet! She's on mine too.

Janet

Vince said...

Hi Jan:

As soon as I read Mary’s comment, ”…that flying bullets ... I totally understand ... do NOT work in Amish stories,” I immediately thought of “The Prodigal Son Returns”. The hero is a reformed Chicago gangster, kind of, and it is still a very rich Amish story.

You managed to make an Amish story that instantly stands out from the rest. It was also interesting to see Amish living in a time period when riding in a buggy and not having electricity was not all that strange.

I think “The Prodigal Son Returns”, is a most enjoyable Amish book to read if you’ve read many Amish books and you seek something really fresh and creative. I just loved it.

Vince

P.S. I think it is time for one of Mary’s characters to make contact with an Amish family in transit.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cara! Lists help me too!

Wow, the morning has flown by. Time for lunch! Please help yourself to the goodies for a fabulous cobb salad. I brought black olives, bleu cheese, hard boiled eggs, avocado, bacon, grilled chicken. Select a dressing from honey mustard, poppy seed, ranch and bleu cheese.

Janet

2blu2btru said...

Thank you for the specific advice. I submitted my first chapter and pitch to the Love Inspired line during So You Think You Can Write and didn't make the top 50. I saw some of Emily Rodmell's tweets and realized my hero and heroine didn't meet soon enough for the line. I've revised the opening chapter and would love to have someone with experience with the Love Inspired line critique it. I'm fleshing out an idea for the suspense line as well and was wondering if you knew of any specifics they are looking for in that line. Again, thank you for the great advice!

Pam Hillman said...

Blueberry pancakes...YUM!

And, Janet, so cool that you can write all about our furry friends even though you're allergic to them.

Who says an author can have it all and do it all?

Janet Dean said...

Afternoon, Carol! You nailed the reason readers love pets in our stories. Pets enrich their lives and they miss them if they're not in our stories.

I put my grandfather's dog Tippy and his team King and Queen into my third novel The Substitute Bride, a story with a farm setting. So fun to put them on the page.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Elizabeth. I think you'll find that LI is open to lots of plots and settings. Readers do have favorite hooks like mail order bride or fish out of water stories.

I love that my earlier stories live o thanks to eBooks! That's truly a blessing!

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

Yummy Cobb salad, Janet. Thanks! I'm enjoying all the comments.

Nodding my head in agreement with the great advice today.

I'm also thinking about a pooch character. Actually, he's starting to tug at my heart. Evidently, he wants his own story. :)

Jackie said...

Hi Janet,

Am I in time for apple slices and caramel dip?

Thanks for all the great tips. Please add my name for prizes. Thanks!

Debby Giusti said...

2 blu...

For LIS, write an exciting, suspense-packed opening and get the hero and heroine together ASAP, as Janet mentioned. Keep them in danger and together as much as possible throughout the story. Ratchet up the tension over and over again. Give them a black moment when it looks like they won't end up together, can't achieve their external goals and their own survival seems in question. Wrap everything up in an exciting climax and then provide that wonderful HEA we all love to read.

writingirishblog said...

LI is my target, and these tips will certainly be put to use as I begin Nano. I'm working on a LI contemporary, and what you said resonated with me. Thanks for this and for the good reads. Loving the historicals.
Erin

CatMom said...

Happy Monday, Janet and Seekerville!

Thank you for this super-helpful post today (which I know I'll keep referring to as I target LI/LIH).

Please enter me in your mentoring package!

Even though you brought yummy food today....I feel I need to contribute something---so please enjoy these freshly-made Georgia Pecan Pralines for an afternoon snack (or whenever you need SUGAR!).

As I've told you many times, I've loved ALL of your books, and eagerly await more Janet Dean stories.
Hugs, Patti Jo :)

PatriciaW said...

Happy Monday, Seekerville!

Great tips, Janet. I don't think I've ever seen such a succinct yet thorough collection of tips specific to Love Inspired. Since I have an outstanding editor's request, these will be very helpful.

Janet Dean said...

Afternoon Vince! You and Walt head my list of great guy readers! Your support is encouraging and a huge blessing.

I'm amazed by your productivity and the variety of what you write--fiction, non-fiction, How To. Congrats on finishing the Brokerage Law correspondence course.

I'm smiling that you learned something new in my post. Btw, if both POVs aren't in the story early, I doubt that would be a deal breaker for an LI editor. Good stories can be revised.

Your ideas for a virtual shift of POV are interesting. Any tips on how to mingle a character's and narrator's voice? Sounds tricky. I love the idea of using the non-POV character's physical actions to show his or her reaction to the POV character. I use facial expressions, stepping away or toward, shifting the gaze and of course, dialogue, but I'm not sure if I've done that. If not, I'm going to! I love the idea. Thanks for teaching me something new, Vince!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Kym! Wishing you all the best with the story you're targeting toward LI!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi 2blu2btru. Congratulations on stepping out and entering the LI contest! Glad you are revising the story with their guidelines in mind! If you have questions, today is the day to ask.

I'm sure Debby will be along to help with the suspense question. She's Seekerville's LIS pro.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Vince, I totally agree! I didn't know how I'd write an Amish story during the time period that everyone lived as they did. Jan showed me how.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Yay! You are so right, Pam. I'm thankful for cyber food and cyber pets. No weight gain or itchy eyes!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hey Debby, KC has a pooch with his own story. Ours are secondary characters!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Wow, Debby, thanks for giving the nutshell makings of a fabulous romantic suspense!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Afternoon, Erin! Thanks! Wishing you the best on writing your LI contemp!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jackie, never too late for apples and caramel dip! I put lemon juice on the slices so they won't turn dark.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Patti Jo! Your Georgia pecan pralines are yummy! Always count on you to add to the buffet!

Thanks for your sweet words! Far sweeter even than Georgia's finest peaches.

Hugs, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Wahoo, Patricia W!! Thrilled for your request!! Wishing you all the best with this. Keep us posted!

Janet

Allison Travis said...

I would love a copy of your book! I enjoy many genres and I don't have a lot of time to read. I find the love inspired refreshing & something I can quickly read and enjoy.

Linda Finn said...

I would love to win any or all of the prizes !

I like to be honest in my information I give back to authors when I read and review. I will not post a bad review.
Isn't it the idea Melissa jagears to leave us hang till the next book ? Oh well you cannot please everyone right.
The books look so good for todays seekerville scavenger hunt and I am so enjoying this and learning so much.

Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books
http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

Tina Radcliffe said...

This is the definitive Love Inspired want to sell primer, Janet.

Well done.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Allison! Glad you enjoy Love Inspired books. Thanks for your interest in mine!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Afternoon Linda F!

Everyone has a different idea about whether to give negative reviews or not. Tastes vary so why would a reviewer smack down a book an editor liked and bought when the next reader might also love it? As you wisely said, we can't please everyone.

Janet

Valri said...

Janet, I love your books! You are pretty fantastic too! Courting Miss Adelaide was one of my favorites :) Enjoyed your post this morning! It doesn't seem like you've been writing that long but you seem like a "seasoned veteran" now so I guess you have!!! Always look forward to any new book of yours that comes out.

Melissa, I just finished your novella about Dex and Rachel this morning so coincidence that you are the first commenter this morning! I loved their story and look forward to more from you!

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Tina! I hope the post helps those Villagers targeting LI.

Janet

Piper Huguley said...

Janet,

Yes, now that I've hit send, I can visit Seekerville again. Thanks for your good wishes. And I agree with everyone on the wonderful clarity of your post.

Thank you also to Ruthy and my cp Elaine (who probably wants her chapter, but I have not even bathed since last week--it's coming) and Deb H.

Ohhh Deb, the analogy to the Hunger Games-makes me a teensy bit nervous about the whole thing! Cause SYTYCW is a little like that, only no one is getting killed.

So maybe not....

Piper

Janet Dean said...

Hi Valri!

Thanks bunches for your encouraging words!

I feel seasoned. Somedays I'm a little heavy on the pepper. ;-) Like most of us, I had lots of years writing and getting rejected before I sold. Each book was an education. Wish I'd written more and revised less. Still wishing it.

Janet

Boos Mum said...

I am glad you got off of unpubbed island. I enjoy your books very much.

Janet Dean said...

YAY PIPER!!! Congratulations on getting the entry submitted before the deadline!

Laughing about the lack of hygiene. Haven't we all been there?

Love your shout out to your cps and those who helped along the way! Takes a village. :-)

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

Janet, you mentioned KC's May, the K9 Spy, who is such an inspiring pup!

I'm hoping my pooch--should he come to life in one of my stories--will learn May's sleuthing tricks.

Perhaps KC will consider writing a pup tutorial for future fictional canines. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Thank you, Miss Patti Jo, for the yummy pralines!

Yay, Piper! A submission and a shower! It's a good day in Georgia! :)

Janet Dean said...

Boos Mum, thank you! I'm glad too. And here's a secret, each book a published author writes is another push to get off Unpubbed Island, at least for that book. We make that journey to the mainland time and time again.

I'm not sure that makes sense. I'm tired. I stayed up late to watch the Colts play the Broncos. A sign at the game read something like this: Welcome back Peyton but Luck's on our side.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Debby, a sleuthing dog is a fabulous idea! I'm smelling a series in the works! Wouldn't that be fun!

Janet

Heidi said...

I totally enjoy reading Love Inspired books. They are perfect if I need a quick fix and there's too much going on in my life to invest time in a book that will take a few days to read. Thanks for sharing the things you have learned writing for them- I'm sure I'll have them in the back of my mind as I start a new book :)
Please enter me for your reader's prize! Thanks!

Hilleary Peterson said...

I have to say as a reader (please enter me in your contest)I love epilogues. There are times I wish I could just read about a couple until they are old and in a nursing home. It is nice to read the after story. That is also a big reason I like series books, allows you to see other characters in the original book and still get updates about the original couple.

Janet Dean said...

Heidi Lovely to hear you enjoy LI books! Got your name in the pot!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hey, Hilleary! Lots of readers feel like you do! I must be weird. Once I've finished reading a story, I have this happy glow and epilogues are a letdown to me. Or maybe I just want to visualize the hero and heroine's future going the way I want, not the way the author wrote it. :-) Who hasn't rewritten in your head the ending of Gone With the Wind?

Janet

Donna said...

Janet,, thank you for sharing what you have learned along the way!

I hate I missed the blueberry pancakes!

Please enter me for any and all prizes.

Melanie said...

I'd love to be entered in the reader giveaway. Your books sound like wonderful reads! :)

Melanie
frequentreader19 (at) gmail (dot) com
My blog ~ Christian Bookshelf Reviews

Crystal Ridgway said...

Hi,
I would love if you entered me for the critique prize! I am a very new author, and I desperately need someone who is experienced to review my work.
I feel like I'm drowning sometimes. there's so MUCH that has to be done to keep the story flowing and I cant even figure out how to get started on the swim from the island.
(Oh, and Mary C., my WIP is right after the civil war and she meets the hero on page two with a rifle aimed at his chest. couldn't bear to kill him before the book even REALLY starts. do you think that's a good opening?)
So, I really, really need to win this prize. Or any prize like it. Really I just need HELP!
I give all those other newbie authors that are suffering through the writing world the best of luck. I pray I'll someday make that wonderful journey off of the island.
blessings to all.

Janet Dean said...

Donna, the grill only takes seconds to heat. It's never too late for blueberry pancakes in Seekerville! You're entered!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Melanie, thanks for your interest in my books! You are entered. Your blog looks great!

Janet

Jenny Blake said...

Thanks all for the prayers. Had a really bad night and the pain has been bad. the meds have finally kicked in this morning. not sure the treatment helped yet but least I may have a reason for the pain. I see my dr this morning and hope she has some suggestions this time.
Knowing people care really does help.

Mary Yelesin said...

Thank you, Janet for the insightful article. I was preparing to send something to LI but I felt there was something not quite right about it. After reading your post I had a classic "thump on the head" moment. My hero and heroine don't meet until chapter 3, and they are apart for too many scenes. I've decided to rework it before sending it in. I'd like to enter the drawing for a critique.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Crystal! Writing a book is hard work and there's a lot to learn. No wonder new writers feel overwhelmed.

I don't know who will win the critique, but I suggest you go to the Seekerville archives to find posts covering helpful topics you can study then practice.

Remember to keep reading. See what your favorite authors do to hook you and keep you turning pages.

And keep putting words on the page. We learn a lot just by writing.

No matter how daunting writing a book seems now, don't give up! You can do it!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, I'm so sorry you had a bad night. Hope the doctor knows what to do next. Is this headache pain or wrist?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mary. So glad you read this post before you submitted. You might want to check to see if your story starts in Chapter Three. The book starts when the action or trouble starts. Often that's where the hero and heroine meet. Sometimes we have to write back story to know our characters but then we can save those details and sprinkle them in throughout the book. Hope this helps!

Janet

Sandra Leesmith said...

Great post today JANET. I LOVE all your books.

Erica Vetsch said...

Janet, I don't think I got to that museum! Drat! It sounds fantastic.

Lyndee H said...

Hi Janet,
Great advice and a buffet, too. How can we go wrong? I recently sorted my LI historicals and discovered that I have a bunch of your books. Most were purchased before I knew who you were and that you were on Seekerville! I found Courting Miss Adelaide at a library sale last year and was excited to add it to the collection. Thanks for sharing your insights.

Rhonda Gibson said...

I am such a big fan of Janet's! Love, love, love your books Janet! Don't ever stop writing :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I agree with that Rhonda Gibson woman, Janet!!!!!

And Crystal, Janet gave you sound advice... write, write, write. And finding a critique partner who is about at your level (and who you'll like working with, sometimes you go through a few, I swear I never did a THING TO ANY OF THE 15 CRITIQUERS I WORKED WITH!!! IT WAS THEIR PROBLEM, NOT MINE!!!!) :)

Finding a good critique partner to bounce things off is a great start for all of us! I found mine (Sandra) through FH&L. We've had people hook up right here through Seekerville. There's 1K1HR on facebook, a group we developed that helps authors connect and inspire each other to write daily. (1K1HR stands for trying to write 1000 words in about an hours time or getting a thousand words written/day. It's a great and easy motivator!) Come find us on facebook and friend Carol Moncado. She can hook you up with 1K1HR.

Jenny Blake said...

Janet I saw the specialist about the wrist last week and he says its healing so no surgery its a tad sore today because of what I did yesterday but a good sore I can feel the difference.
the pain is headache and today I think due to the lack of sleep the past couple of nights I am really struggling emotionally to handle it. At this rate if it keeps up like it is now I will cry when I see the dr which may not be a bad thing I really dont want to take more pain killers right now as even on a half dose I get so dizzy but if it doesn't ease soon will have to do something. of course it could be the acupuncture starting to work as they say there could be more pain before it starts to work (if thats it I can deal with it) she said it shouldn't do that to me but knowing me who knows. the meds are meant to make me sleep and they keep me awake. I just feel drained today. its close on 7 weeks.

Jan Drexler said...

Janet, I stayed up to watch the end of the Colts/Broncos game, too. (Not as late here since we're on Mountain Time).

I was sad and disappointed. Did the Colts really win, or was that just a bad dream? :)

Preslaysa Williams said...

Great post, Janet. I had the same thump in the head moment as Mary. Please enter me in the contest for writers.

Sharon Timmer said...

Please put me in the contest - thanks!
Stimmer@familylife.com

Crystal Ridgway said...

Hello Ruth Logan,
I thank you and Janet for the advice. Right now, I do not have a Facebook account, as it goes against my Christian beliefs. However, I am not sure that it won't be necessary to get one when/if I ever get published.
Right now I am just hoping to find encouragement and advice through seekerville. Maybe someday I'll be able to budget for a membership to ACFW.
Right now, both my mother and I are aspiring authors, and we read and make suggestions for each other's manuscripts. at times I'm pretty sure I could use the advice of someone who is an experienced author.
I am on my second manuscript. I haven't submitted my first for publication because I KNOW it is so full of mistakes that I would never stand a chance. I'm trying to pay more attention to my current WIP.
Again, thank you so much for the advice. I'll add you to my prayers, as anyone who reaches out a helping hand to someone struggling as much as I am is surely a blessing straight from the Father.

Natalie Monk said...

Thanks for sharing these tips with us, Janet! Great stuff!

Terri said...

Are you sure no bullets in Amish? I mean we might have an Englisher infiltrate.

Cindy W. said...

I have to say I love coming back to Seekerville after a long hard day at work to read all the wonderful comments that have been written since I left in the early hours of the day. I must say I always enjoy reading what Vince has to say. Many of his comments are "Keeper Book" worthy.

Have a wonderful evening everyone!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Terri said...

Hi Janet, excellent post! Very timely since I'm revising a manuscript targeted towards LIS. Thanks for sharing!

Terri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janet Dean said...

Sandra, thank you! Mutual girlfriend!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Erica, we'll just have to make another trip to Indianapolis! I never get my fill of Conner's Prairie, either.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Lyndee! You're welcome. I'm tickled pink that you have several of my books on your shelf! Does that make us neighbors?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Wow, Rhonda! Do you mean I can't retire? Don't tell my husband! Seriously, thank you for your sweet words from the bottom of my heart.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, great advice to Crystal to get a critique partner! Why didn't I think of that? I love mine! What did you do to yours??? 15? LOL

They probably faded away from overwork! No one could keep up with your productivity!

Janet

Missy Tippens said...

Janet, you've brought up some fantastic insights! Nice reminders for me as I'm polishing my draft. :)

Janet Dean said...

Oh, Jenny, I'm so sorry. I've heard good things about acupuncturists. Hope you get relief soon!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jan! Sorry to confirm, but yes, the Colts won. I wanted Peyton to do well, but not so well as to win. He gave us a scare. Wasn't that a great game?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Preslaysa, hello! Head thumping is allowed. As long as you don't give yourself a concussion. ;-) You're entered. Thanks for stopping in!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sharon! You're entered. Thanks!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Crystal, you're hanging out at the right place! Congratulations on completing a manuscript! Lots of people say they want to write a book but few can say they did.

Here's the positives I see:

You completed a manuscript.

You recognized the manuscript wasn't ready to submit. Not everyone does.

You found someone to share the journey with.

You are writing another book.

You are spending time learning everything you can in Seekerville.

You're entering contests for feedback on your story.

You've got a lot to celebrate!

Janet

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ah, I really only had one. Just me and Sandra. She was the first one to jump on board and we got along so well. But we're both a little bit SNARKY so that helped. :)

I think the writing level and personalities have to mesh well, so I really never used anyone else. Now that doesn't mean we Seekers haven't traded work from time to time, I think most of us have done that.

But the only person I did that with regularly was our very own Sandra.

EVERYONE ELSE RAN IN FEAR!!!!!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Natalie! Happy to! Thanks for stopping in!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Terri, you're absolutely right! Never say, never. I'm sure Mary will write an Amish Western one day.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks for stopping early and late, Cindy W! Vince's comments are always worth coming back to read. The man wears so many hats we could call him Bartholomew. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Missy! Can't wait for another Tippens book on my shelf!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Ruthy, 15 critique partners made a far better story. ;-)

Janet

Crystal Ridgway said...

Jenny,
I hope you feel better very soon. I know how you feel, at least in the headache department. I had migraines a few years ago. thankfully I have since recovered and am primarily headache free.
Have you tried any home remedies?
When I was in the midst of those horrid migraines, someone suggested that I try acupressure and essential oils.
They helped so very much.
I took baths with peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils for relaxation. 'pointfinder the online acupressure guide' (Google it) suggested pressure points to relieve some of the pain.
now when I say essential oil, I'm not talking about what you can find in your average grocery store, this is stuff you have to buy online or at your local health food store.
I am not trying to treat or diagnose anything here, only to tell you what helped me get through days I thought I couldn't face.
Prayers always help too. As strange as it sounds, I took to praying psalm 91 in some of my roughest days. It really did help.
I'll be talking to the Father on your behalf.
Blessings.

Crystal Ridgway said...

Janet,
You are all so encouraging here! I feel so blessed to be commenting. before I say anything more I want to share with everyone a couple of songs that really cheer me up when I get discouraged with my writing. 'A hero lies in you' by Mariah Carey, and 'that's what faith can do' by Cutlass.
Your list of positives was amazing. I never thought to look at it that way. at night I fall asleep telling God that He is the best how-to book out there, and that if he wants me to succeed at writing then I know I will.
I do have a BIG question right now. I am stuck. and I mean really, really STUCK. How do you manage to keep the scenes flowing?
sometimes I dream them in my sleep and it flows wonderfully, other times (like now) I have no clue where to go.
a am a pantser if that helps any. I have very little outline for what I'm going to do with my book from scene to scene. I just let my characters tell me.
BUT THEY'RE GIVING ME THE SILENT TREATMENT!!!!!!!!!!
Is it okay to knock them upside the head with a two by four and demand they talk to me???
I didn't think so. :(
Maybe they're mad at me because I keep going back to the beginning and changing what happened. LOL
I have to sign off at eight, so this just might be goodnight to all.
sleep good everybody! I hope you all dream up new scenes.

Helen Gray said...

I'm late, I'm late. Been out of town.

Thanks for sharing, Janet.

Here's fresh coffee.

Sally said...

Awesome post!! Thanks for all the great tips. Will keep this one for reference. I would love to be entered to win one of your books! Love your books! Thanks!
tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

DebH said...

I'm bummed the Broncos lost. Had to mention that as born and raised Bronco fan. *sigh* I'm hoping tbis is just tiny blip on the way to the Super Bowl.(hah hah)

Jenny Blake said...

thanks Crystal, The Physio is doing acupuncture and I know where the spot is cos its tender today.
Just been to my dr and she wants me of all pain meds, starting with the narcotic and then the one like your tynadol we are cutting down to twice a day then once and then stop with the narcotic it does something without its useless. She thinks it could be from taking it to long (shes the one who told me to take it 3 times a day for as long as I did and It did nothing for the wrist although I didn't have headaches at the time) but she may be right that its now causing the headaches. Im not looking forward to the next few days as the pain today has been bad.
She did say to massage the area and keep going back for the dry needling as it will probably do more good. I see her in 2 weeks.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Crystal,

Great songs!

Be sure you know your characters. It's hard to write a story if you don't know what they want. What they've experienced in their pasts. And how that impacts what they want, etc.

To keep scenes flowing, I try to give the hero or heroine a goal for each a scene. A goal that fits the book length goal for the character.

By this I mean: What does your character want in your story?

Why does he want it?

What's stopping him from getting it?

For example: If his goal is to start a business, then in the scene he'll be working toward that. Maybe ordering supplies, renting a building, trying to get a loan. Just make up how. :-)

Make sure he's not alone in the scene. Put him with the heroine or other characters. Then if he tries to get a bank loan but that's denied, then he has to figure out what to do next. If he gets his goal, you can still make things worse.

This method is called scene and sequel. Posts on scene and sequel are in the archives. When one scene leads to a decision for what the character will do in the next scene he's in, the scenes will flow.

About as clear as mud?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Helen, great to see you and know all is well. I may have to pass on the bedtime coffee. Caffeine and sleep don't mix for me. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Sally, thanks for your sweet words and your interest in my books!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Deb H. I'm guessing the Broncos will do well! I'd love another Super Bowl run for the Colts. Wouldn't it be fun if the Colts and Broncos played each other? :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, you may be getting rebound headaches from the meds. Hope tomorrow is better.

Janet

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Late to the pawty today and wawzah - 182 comments!

YAY Janet!

This was so instructional. Thank you for spelling it out. I need things that are listed point by point! :D

Yes - interested in one or both prizes. may at maythek9spy dot com

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Janet, you summed everything up so well! Definitely a post worth noting and printing!

Keli Gwyn said...

Janet, I remember your debut novel so well. You generously agreed to be my blog guest and were so gracious in your responses to all those who dropped by to read your interview.

I was all atwitter when I got to meet you in person at the RWA Conference in 2008. Yours was the first familiar face this florescent green newbie writer saw, and I was so excited I wasn't sure I'd actually be able to get words out when we talked.

It's been such a joy to watch your career take off and to read your excellent stories.

Linda Finn said...

I would say that just because someones personal taste doesn't meet up with your book, doesn't mean that the book is bad, perhaps they lack good taste in books... Lets face it everything that Julie Lessman has turned me to have been awesome books and I am sure your book is totally awesome !
Hugs
Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books
http://www.faithfulacresbooks.wordpress.com
faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

Mary Preston said...

I know as a reader that the first line, page & chapter need to grab me. If possible I will read the first page before I purchase.

I'm a reader, please count me in for a print copy thank you.

ourmutualfriends said...

Great post, Janet! I've love to be in the drawing for the prizes!

Elizabeth Kitchens

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, Janet ... you learned a lot, girlfriend -- EXCELLENT POST!!

I apologize for being late to the party, but I knew it would be good when I got here, and it was!!

Hugs,
Julie

Wanda Barefoot said...

Hi Janet! I'm definitely not a writer but I sure know how to read. This was a great post and inwould love a copy of your book. :)

Blessings,
Wanda Barefoot
flghtlss1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Voni Harris said...

Ah, the HEA ending. I actually like it when a subplot is left undone, as with your unwed mothers. How fun to then read and see if the author took those stories where your imagination took the story.

I'd love to be put in for both prizes! And the iPad mini, of course. Thanks!

Blessings, Voni

Janet Dean said...

Hi KC!

Thanks! Wonderful of you to stop by for the pawty! There's some dog treats for May if she's not off tracking trouble.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Eva Maria, thanks! Thanks for stopping in!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Keli! I remember that first meeting well. I was amazed anyone was eager to meet me. LOL Thanks bunches for the walk down memory lane. I enjoyed your excellent book and look forward to more stories from you!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Linda F, I'd trust Julie's opinion about a book any day!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mary P, you prove the point that those first lines are important. Thanks for stopping in. We love readers here in Seekerville!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Julie, thanks! You always bring a party wherever you are!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Wanda,

Thanks for your interest in my books! Where would we writers be without readers?

Janet

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